Saturday, August 15, 2009

Florida Matters: Python Prank goes Awry... Sort Of.

He Speaks with Forked Tongue

Once again I have to thank The Portly Pirate at The Drawn Cutlass for another bit of news, this one right (literally) in my own backyard. The report was first covered by Bay News 9 and published by UPI

Seems like the knuckle headed trapper who bills himself as a "wildlife expert," Justin Matthews of Matthews' Wildlife Rescue, released a 14 foot python last month near a daycare. He purchased the python from a local pet store in Tampa for $200, and released it as a publicity stunt.

He finally fessed up to his chicanery yesterday. Excusing his behavior as "trying to raise awareness," but admits getting more phone call to his business.

What in the world has gotten into people lately?

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Gator Hunting: Class in Session!

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Bubby and Ethan
Go to Gator Hunting School
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is holding a series of classes on Alligator hunting. Bubby and his best friend Ethan accompanied me to the classes today and we had a pretty good time. There were several vendors of assorted gator hunting equipment, a really neat taxidermy outfit, and several guides.

We learned a few things, though the truth be told, Bubby and I have already caught our fair share of alligators and relocated them. We figured out early on that the end with the pointy teeth should be avoided at all costs. The course covered the legal issues, CITES tags, permits, licenses, permitted hunting gear, and hunting times.

Ethan (left) and Blake study a cleaned alligator skull

There were several learning aids available for perusal. The boys naturally gravitated towards anything dangerous, assiduously avoiding written material that might require reading.

Ethan: What if you sat on this by accident?
Bubby: What if I stuck it in your leg?
Ethan: Cool!
Dad: Put the Damn Thing Down, NOW!

Naturally, I kept a close eye on them for fear of having to carve a barbed head out of someone's leg. Certainly it would add a whole new level of entertainment to the show, but I would just as soon be an observer for the day.

Awesome Coffee Table

Captain Eddie Vitale of Bad to the Bone Taxidermy was there showing off his wares. I was very impressed with the technical quality of work, and the artistic level of execution. Unfortunately the pictures I took do not do his work any justice. Really top notch work.

And in case you are wondering, the Mrs said, not just no, but "...over my dead body no you can't get that coffee table." And she meant my body not hers. I'm not sure how that works ...

Really Nice Diorama of a Gator and Two Shoats

Uhhh... Dad?

You truly can choke on a chicken...

All in all we had a really good time. Both the boys are interested in at least experiencing a gator hunt, and I am all for the adventure!

I'm going to have to get with my buddy Todd Hill at Primitive Point and see about getting a proper hand forged barbed spear head. I guess we'll have to build another pirogue, and learn to stand up in them. I'm getting excited just thinking about it. And the boys, if we survive or at least make it back with most of our pieces intact, well they'll have stories to tell the rest of their lives. You can't beat that with a long stick!

Now, if I can only get SBW here...

Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Friday, August 14, 2009

Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer: A Reasoned Response

Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer
Vohringer Speaks for the Record

I was perusing Othmar Vohringer's blog "Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer" as is my habit on a regular basis. Othmar is a well known speaker on the Northern Outdoor Pursuits circuit, and teaches classes on turkey calling, Turkey Hunting, Bow Hunting, and Fishing.

Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer

Recently, Othmar pushed to the forefront an incident where hooligans and thugs video taped themselves killing waterfowl for no reason, other than they were bored. Due to the exposure by Othmar on Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer, and here on The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, the scofflaws were quickly apprehended. Great work by Law Enforcement and hunters and outdoorsmen, quickly brought the criminals to justice.

Now, with the capture, trial, and conviction of the YouTube Duck Poachers, many have turned their attention to other matters. Interestingly, Othmar, had a comment on his blog somewhat berating him for discussing the true motives of the Animal Rights extremists, and their deceitful and publicity hungry methods.

Monica wrote the following comment on “Duck Poachers Captured

I'm an animal advocate and am as happy as any of you that these idiot killers were apprehended. This is one of those instances where we can celebrate the common interests of hunters and animal welfare proponents. We all abhor this type of horrid slaughter. I find it disappointing that you've used this blog space to create more philosophical distance where we could, in fact, find agreement. It's when we come together that decency prevails. I believe tips came in across the board, from both hunters and non-hunters. We should celebrate that joint success.

Othmar's answer:

"I agree with you Monica. Animal rights or, animal welfare proponents, can agree on certain issues even work together on solving an issue. I have had many conversations with animal rights and in the majority these conversations had been very civil. Some animal rights respected my views after I explained to them what hunting is really all about. Others even changed their mind in favor of hunting and hunters while others agreed to disagree without hard feelings.

However, these are individual people. What I am aiming at are the animal rights organizations. Animal rights organizations have only one agenda and that is to make money of gullible people and abusing peoples emotions to that end. To achieve that, animal rights organizations will do whatever it takes to make hunters and hunting look bad in the public. This includes slander, criminalizing, dehumanizing, twisting facts or simply make them up as they go along. If anybody would talk about other minorities in this fashion they would be quite rightly sent to prison for hate mongering.

What I particularly object in this case is the fact that in all the broadcasting about the duck poachers, with very few exceptions, hunters were slowly phased out of been mentioned. To the end nowhere in the media has been made mention that in fact it was the hunting community that started the ball rolling and kept at it until the poachers were arrested. Nowhere in the media has it been mentioned that the hunting community offered over 1,000 dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of the poachers, long before the government or the Humane Society of Canada offered rewards.

All we heard in the news, and still do, is that the Humane Society of Canada, an affiliate of the notorious Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), offered a reward for the capture of the poachers. The turn started the moment the organization released thousands of press releases and henceforth hunters and their efforts were not talked about anymore in public. This is a sick trick of the animal rights movement and sympathizing media to make the Humane Society of Canada look good in the public eye. A hunting friend of mine was declined and interview in favor of a member of the Humane Society of Canada and that despite the many hours and days my friend helped the media to gather information for the news.

With that in mind, I used my blog to make sure that the people on the street know that it was thanks to the Canadian hunters and their unparalleled combined effort that got the poachers arrested, and not the Humane Society of Canada, the police or even the government. The simple fact is. Had it not been for the hunters this atrocity would never have gotten the attention of the mainstream media, the Humane Society of Canada or the authorities. In fact if it were not for the hunters that poaching case, like so many others, would most likely never have have been investigated. It is a well established fact in the law enforcement that hunters are at the very forefront in fight against wildlife and environment violations. It was hunters that helped to fund "Report A Poacher" programs.

I also find it objectionable that the Humane Society of Canada only put up the award after the case was all over the media. This was clearly an attempt to gain public exposure given the thousands of press releases they sent out to the media. There are other animal abuse cases the Humane Society of Canada put rewards out but they never make the mainstream media. There is not a newspaper in Canada or TV station that does not mention the Humane Society of Canada, making them look instrumental in this case. Yet, as I write this, the Humane Society of Canada gets ready to unleash another emotional barrage of hunter bashing and hate mongering in the mainstream media in an effort to outlaw bear hunting in British Columbia. The intent is clear to see, people will say, “This is the organization that helped bring down the duck poachers - which are often portrayed in public as hunters as "hunters" – now they are saving the bears from the nasty hunters. Well done, lets write a check out.”

In light of this it seems to me very important that the people know that hunters are not the “monsters” the Humane Society of Canada and other animal rights organizations makes them out to be. It is important to me that people know that hunters do more for the protection of wildlife and conservation then all animal right organizations and the so called environmental organization combined. Here is an article that outlines what hunters do to ensure that future generations can enjoy the variety and abundance of wildlife we all take for granted today.

Like I said, I always have respected individual animal rights and their views but I never will respect an organization that shamelessly abuses people emotionally and engages in hate mongering for financial benefit."

That folks is a great response. Well thought out and reasoned, it is the type of answer that we should all have ready whenever confronted with Animal Rights activists. Thank you Othmar for an excellent and eloquent response!

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bobby Nations, Come on Down! You're the next Contestant

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Killing a Florida Panther is Wrong!
(Unless it happens to be gnawing on your leg...)

Recently I commented on the killing of a Florida Panther. Bobby Nations (Cool Name tooo!) has called me on the carpet for my commentary. Which by the way is cool by me; it allows all of us to sharpen our wits and pencils!

"I have to respectfully disagree with your rant here if for no other reason than you can't know what you are talking about because you don't have all the facts about the incident, which you admitted more than once in the post itself. The article to which you link gives almost no facts about the shooting except that the hunter was in a tree stand. Interestingly enough, it never mentions his name or whether he was being charged or not charged. What other sources of information did you use? Could you amend this post to include those links as well so that we could get all get on to the same page here?

Now, it seems to me that the authorities in GA made the call not to charge Mr. Adams based upon a greater knowledge of the hunter's situation and mindset at the time he pulled the trigger. I dislike backseat drivers and second-guessers generally, but especially those who would do so of peace officers. IMO, it's incumbent upon us to give them some respect here by extending the benefit of the doubt instead of presuming that they are falling down on the job as you seem to do (or worse, complicit in a crime).

Finally, referring to Mr. Adams as a "sportsman" complete with scare quotes is asinine. You don't know the man and apart from this one incident you have no data to base your conclusion upon. And what difference does the kind of gun he used to shoot the cougar make in whether he did the right thing or the wrong thing? You got something against blackpowder?" Bobby Nations

Bobby Nations,

I freely admit that I wasn't there, but I did add that it was my OPINION, and quite frankly I still stand by it.

I've spent more than enough time in the great outdoors to know what's going on. The way society has changed over the years, leaves me little faith in people's honesty and integrity.

I love BP by the way. Anything to make outdoor pursuits more challenging is welcomed by me.

Now if I felt threatened, I would probably wait for muzzle contact before firing. Especially with BP. What I could see from the photos was a shot that penetrated from on high and apparently dead center. Looks like deliberate shooting to me. If you have the time to line up like that, then you have time for other tactics.

Now I don't deny the possibility that luck might have had something to do with the shot, but maybe I've got a lot more nerve than Mr Adams.

Just google it up and you can get everything just like I did. And last but not least, HE made his decision, and HE made it public record. I just tell the news and give my opinion... just like you are doing.

And while I am at it, it is a FLORIDA PANTHER: Endangered, hello! I don't make the rules Bobby N, I just want them enforced fairly and impartially. I am sick and tired of ignorance and buffoonery being excused.

Cheese and Crackers! What do we have to do to get that through the thick skulls of the population at large? We pander to every single little problem anyone has, we allow parents to think that they are raising princes and princesses, we excuse, ignore, and accept bad behavior because we're lazy, scared, or benumbed to it. I for one am quite tired of it. I'll call a spade a spade and that's that. Adams shot a Florida Panther. Florida Panthers are endangered. It is against Federal law to shoot endangered animals. There is not one shred of credible evidence that the endangered Florida Panther was in fact threatening Adams. His word just isn't good enough for me to accept it without corroborating evidence. This is my OPINION, and I'm stickin' to it!

Always good to be challenged on things. It keeps you honest and thinking.

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Be Back Thursday!


I'll be back on Thursday. I have a project for you that I am working on, a Post of Note that is exceptional, and I need to round up the usual list of suspects!

Is anyone else, all of a sudden, finding themselves with too much to do and not enough time?

UPDATE 09:45: Uhhmmm, it's Wednesday already isn't it... make that Friday.

Best Regards,

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Florida Matters: Biology on the Bay - Mangroves

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Biology on the Bay: Mangroves

While goofing around this weekend with Bubby and his pal Ethan, we pulled into one of the many parks that dot the Tampa Bay coastline. Unknown to many even a few miles inland, these parks often offer easy access to the bay for small boat enthusiasts, wade fishing, and in many cases offer picnic areas and scenic walks.

As the boys wandered around, I meandered over to the seawall and looked over the edge. Along with the accumulated trash and seaweed, I saw several mangrove pods, many with sprouted leaves. That’s when I got an idea. "Biology on the Bay," will be an occasional series touching on the different flora and fauna of the Tampa Bay region.
Image Credit: Edgley Cesar

There are four different types of mangroves that inhabit the Tampa Bay estuaries: Red Mangrove, Black Mangrove, White Mangrove and the Buttonwood.

Image Credit: TeeJe
Living closest to the water, the Red Mangrove is the most common of the mangroves and the one that drops the pods that you frequently see floating by when you are fishing. Given the opportunity, a mangrove pod that gets washed up on a shoreline, or gets caught between reef rocks, will throw out roots that will quickly support it. As it grows, the Red Mangrove will produce a maze of aerial roots that prop it in place, and provide structure for all the denizens of the shallow waters. Oysters, sponges, and many types of invertebrates take refuge within the curved and intersected confines of the root system, as well as the juvenile of any number of fish. Along with the grass beds, this is the nursery of much of the Gulf Coast’s fish. 75% of all game fish, and 90% of all commercial fish use the mangrove systems for rearing their young and depend on it.
Black Mangrove Breathing Tubes

The Black Mangrove’s roots are actually an underground network of roots. Inhabiting the area nearest high tide, the Black Mangrove can be identified by the breathing tubes that pierce the tidal flats around the trees. As the Black Mangrove grows, the roots expand, putting up new breathing tubes, and as new seeds drop and germinate, they eventually growing into groves of substantial trees. The Black Mangrove though, is fighting a loosing battle against invasive species such as the Brazilian Pepper Tree, a particularly noxious and difficult to eradicate pest that can withstand brackish conditions.

The White Mangrove grows furthest inland along with the Buttonwood. Both have a more conventional root system. They can be identified from the other species by the shape of the leaves. These are the last to colonize an area, and are on the inside fringe of the mangrove community.

The three types of mangrove work jointly to stabilize shorelines throughout their range.

The ecology of the mangrove forests is fascinating. If you were to take a single sprout, plant it, and observe it over years, you would find that by itself, it would have the capability of creating not only its own ecosystem, but in essence bring life to a seemingly barren location.
When a mangrove pod takes root, it very quickly stabilizes the adjacent areas. As it grows, the aerial roots that it produces create a tangle that hold debris and detritus that gets caught up in them. As the mangrove accumulates materials, it becomes colonized by any number of invertebrates. These in turn attract other creatures. The falling leaves decompose, are consumed by these tiny creatures, and become the first link in the food chain of the bay. Soon other pods are caught up in the outlying roots of the initial mangrove and a new tree begins to grow, expanding the process.

Over time, as the accumulation increases and the number of animals upon the mangrove expands, the mangrove mangals take on the characteristics of an island. Birds nest in the canopy, carry seeds, nesting material, and leave behind plenty of droppings. Storms bring more debris that gets caught up in the ever expanding ring of aerial roots. Over decades and centuries islands are formed.
High Tide at a Black Mangrove Mangle

Mangroves create barriers that prevent erosion from both wind and water. The interconnected root systems breakup and diffuse the energy of tidal flows and storms, preventing soil, silt, and sand from getting washed away. The oysters and sponges that inhabit the system help filter runoff and do their part in keeping the Tampa Bay Estuary in its great condition.

Next time you are out on the Florida coastlines, take a closer look at the mangroves. Not only are they an interesting part of the landscape with their interesting roots and salt encrusted leaves, but they are an integral part of the life cycle of Tampa Bay.

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Sunday, August 9, 2009

AUCTION! Must See! Powder Horns, Rifles, UNBELIEVABLE


Huge Auction of Pennsylvania and Virginia made Kentucky Rifles.
In addition there will be authentic powder horns and memorabilia.

It is an unbelievable opportunity for anyone that has the wherewithal to acquire any of these lots. The asking prices seem reasonable, though there is no telling what the final bids will end up at!

On August 13th through August 15th, the collection of the late Joanne and John Holmanmore will be put on the auction block. More than 220 long rifles will be offered at 10 a.m. next Friday (August 14th) at the second session of the sale at Morphy's gallery (2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, Pa., If you would like to follow online, and possibly bid, the auction also is being carried online at LiveAuctioneers (

To be honest, I am absolutely besides myself that I can't bid on a single thing. Quite frankly I am pulling my hair over this. These are quintessential pieces of Americana that will pretty much disappear from view again. Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity!

There are a few "modern arms" mixed in Parkers, a German triple, a couple of rimfire cartridge rifles, books, accessories, and other stuff! It starts on page 21 and continues 31 with knives, swords and tomahawks on that last page.

Estimate: $400- $600

If anyone decides to bid and wins, please brag enthusiastically! At least I can experience this vicariously!

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Outdoors With Othmar Vohringer: Duck Poachers Captured


Thanks to the diligent efforts of hunters Canada and the support of all hunters throughout the United States, the poachers highlighted on August 4th have been captured:

Othmar details the investigation and attempts by the HSUS to divert attention from the Hunting Community spearheading and driving the investigation to themselves which thankfully failed. Read the full report at:

Best Regards,